More than £13 million over three years for adult mental health services in Somerset

Adult mental health services in Somerset will receive more than £13 million of funding over the next three years – it has been announced.

The money will be used to bring services closer to communities across the county, giving them quicker and easier access to local services. Plans for the service have been developed in partnership with patients with experience of Somerset’s mental health services who will be working alongside services to ensure they continue to grow and meet the county’s changing needs.

The bid was won by Fit for my Future on behalf of Somerset County Council, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, the voluntary sector and people with lived experience of accessing mental health services. Fit for my Future is the county’s integrated health and care strategy that aims to support the health and wellbeing of the people of Somerset by changing the way we commission and deliver services.

The funding will deliver:

  • mental health services in local communities with support from GP practices and other primary care services
  • four hubs across the county where more specialist support is available
  • eating disorder services for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who are transitioning between children and young people’s and adults’ eating disorder services.

Ninety five full time staff will be recruited to deliver the services that are in line with the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan to deliver services more quickly in communities.  While patients won’t see an immediate change in available services they should experience a significant improvement in the support available over the next three years.

Andrew Keefe, Associate Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, welcomed the news. “We are working together to transform how mental health and emotional wellbeing support is provided in Somerset. Together we will remove some of the boundaries between our NHS organisations and enable people to receive better support more quickly than they currently do. Commissioners, the local authority, Somerset Partnership, GPs and the voluntary sector are all working together to improve the emotional wellbeing of all our people in all our neighbourhoods.”

Tim Baverstock, Somerset County Council’s Commissioning Lead for mental Health, said: “This is great news for mental health across the county and a prime example of the benefits of closer working across health and social care. We’re committed to improving lives and promoting independence by bringing support to people earlier and closer to home. Collaboration has been the key to success and this will build on our thriving partnerships with the third sector and communities.

We look forward to continuing to work with partners to drive improvements in the vital area of Mental Health.”

Jane Yeandle, Service Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at Somerset Partnership, commented on the news and said:

“I am delighted that Somerset has been successful in winning this funding, it will help transform our mental health services. This funding means we can work more closely with GPs and address patients’ mental health problems much earlier. It will mean we can develop better support for patients with eating disorders and those diagnosed with a personality disorder. It will help break down the traditional barriers between services and ensure that the population of Somerset gets the right support and treatment as soon as possible, with services being provided within communities and as close to home as they can be. 

“A big thank you goes to our “experts by experience” – previous patients with experience of Somerset’s mental health services –  who have been instrumental in developing our proposals and will be working with our staff to make sure the service continues to grow to meet any changing needs. We are looking forward to working with all our partners including Somerset GPs and the voluntary sector to deliver this hugely ambitious transformation of Somerset’s mental health services.”

This is not the first money that Somerset has received to support mental health services. Last month it was announced that the county successfully bid for £400k funding for mental health service to support children and young people in Somerset schools and colleges. The funding will help to create two pilot mental health support in school teams covering east and west of the county, giving almost 16,000 children and young people extra support with their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Mental health support teams will work with schools, children and young people and their parents with the aim of ensuring they are well equipped to have healthy and honest conversations about emotional wellbeing – as well as connecting them to local services.